White House won't say if staffers have chartered planes

Posted at 6:40 PM, Oct 17, 2017

The White House has declined to answer a House committee's questions about whether members of President Donald Trump's staff have chartered private or military aircraft, practices that have landed other members of the Trump administration in hot water.

Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short wrote in a letter obtained by CNN that the "White House seeks to ensure employee travel is conducted through the most economic and expeditious means of transportation available."

Short was responding to the House oversight committee, which had requested a list of "each usage" or government or charter aircraft under the Trump administration. The committee also requested information on travel policies and compliance with federal law. The September 26 request was directed to the White House and 23 government agencies.

Short's reply asserted the law applied to other executive branch agencies, but not the White House, and did not include a list of flights.

Short's letters were first reported by Politico.

Ethical and cost questions swirled around Trump's cabinet after it was revealed that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requested a government flight for his honeymoon, and used one to fly to a military base where he watched the solar eclipse. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was ousted after it was reported he took dozens of expensive flights on charter planes.

At least one White House official has taken private flights. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway rode with Price on at least one trip, where the two discussed the opioid epidemic. She has said the trips were "100% business."